With no explanation, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration confessed it missed its end-of-the-year target date for deciding which businesses will be receiving permits to initiate the state’s medical marijuana pilot program.
The delay forces cultivation centers to break ground during the coldest winter months, which will delay harvest of the first crop. Patients that paid $100 for their medical marijuana cards will also have to wait, perhaps until summer or fall, before they can legally purchase and use marijuana from dispensaries.
“We are strongly committed to bringing relief to thousands of people across the state and ensuring Illinois is the national model for implementing medical cannabis,” Illinois DPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold stated. “We are working hard to make sure this is done right.”
Arnold also noted the state is “conducting a comprehensive review of every cultivation center and dispensary applicant to ensure that only the most qualified are approved for this important program. We will announce the recipients when this important review is finished.”
The Illinois Department of Agriculture received 159 applications for cultivation center licenses and will likely award 21 licenses, one per Illinois State Police district. The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation received 214 applications for dispensary licenses, and will likely award 60 licenses.